Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Fwd: Call for proposals - OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation – Alternative Communication in a Globalized World

11-15 August 2008, Accra, Ghana





OURMedia 7: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation –

Alternative Communication in a Globalized World

will be held in Accra, the capital of Ghana, from 11-15 August 2008.


What OURMedia is about


Founded in 2001, OURMedia/NUESTROSMedios is a global network with the goal of facilitating a long-term dialogue between academics, activists, practitioners and policy experts around citizens' media initiatives.  [www. ourmedia…..]


OURMedia is about building an alternative world, rooted in local knowledge, anchored in strong identities but also connected to global networks, open to 'otherness', diversity and inclusion.


Alternative communication for an alternative world


OURMedia 7 is built on the assumption that alternative communication – a diversity of actors, voices, themes and discourses - needs to flourish and take hold to create alternative worlds.  It sees equity, community and cultural identity as the hallmarks of an alternative world. 


Our Media 7 - In Africa, and in the world


OURMedia is coming to Africa for the first time through OM7.  The previous six conferences (OM1-OM6) were held in Washington, D.C., USA; Barcelona, Spain; Barranquilla, Colombia; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Bangalore, India; and Sydney, Australia.


Like the other conferences, OM7 will be shaped by the living experience of its host country and region.  For Ghana and much of Africa, that experience has tended to be portrayed by the world media in terms of deprivation and destruction, or as curiosities.  Yet, this vast, diverse and vibrant continent nourishes many of the values, traditions and practices that can enrich communication in an alternative world.   


Like previous  OURMedia conferences, OM7 is an opportunity to dialogue and strengthen initiatives around common causes with the rest of the world.   In the case of OM7, the conference is also an invitation to better understand the complex and dynamic reality of Africa that informs and potentially deepens such dialogue and initiatives.



AKWAABA (Welcome), OURMedia,

to Ghana and through Ghana, to Africa and the world!!!



The 3 Sub-themes of OURMedia 7


OM7 has selected three sub-themes – Identity, Inclusion and Innovation - that are key dimensions of alternative communication in, for and towards an alternative world. These may be regarded as different faces of marginalization in a world where expression is becoming increasingly uniform, majorities are being excluded (and even exploited), and certain kinds of knowledge and experience are presented as having more value than others. At the same time, the assertion of identity, inclusion and innovation are the very sources of strength to overcome homogenization, exclusion and relegation.



If identity is rooted in culture, the confluence of shared understanding, practice and communication, how can and does cultural diversity – and a multiplicity of media - contribute to an alternative world? This sub-theme speaks to the multiplicity of world-views - imaginaries - waiting to be spoken out loud.  In Africa in particular, but also worldwide, the knowledge and experience embedded in oral tradition and held by indigenous peoples remain powerful yet relatively unexplored and underutilized in global and national mainstream media. Whether in the global North or South, displacements of various kinds have left many grappling with, and grasping for, their sense of themselves and their values.



How can and does communication contribute to the development of an alternative world that is inclusive, provides "platforms of equality" and connects and bridges different cultural and communication societies.  In today's world, exclusion rather than inclusion is often the dominant experience.  There are many faces to exclusion.  Some of the most familiar are given generic names - poverty, gender, youth, indigenous people, minorities.  Whatever the form it may take or the level at which it occurs, exclusion always reflects an imbalance in relationships.  The imbalance is often maintained with force, whether overt (ranging from legislation to physical violence or armed conflict) or less immediately palpable (including, for example, traditional attitudes and beliefs). Not incidentally, fundamental to exclusion are the strictures on the Right to Communicate itself – ranging from forms of expression to the content of discourse to access to the organization of technological media. Thus, people creating their own media is core to inclusion.  Often, the process requires the development of vibrant, rights-aware communities and people-centred policies and regulation.



How can and does communication enable innovation and the renewal of the diversity of human experience that is vital to an alternative world? Innovation happens everyday everywhere, as people try to make sense of and relate to their world.  Whether identified with day-to-day or modern technology, the creative impulse is key in transforming the processes and institutions needed to create an alternative world.  Transformation can only happen if communication itself - those who speak or otherwise express, those who process and the ways and platforms in which this happens - is transformed.  For example, where do the new communication technologies and practices lie:  will they simply be about new-ness or will they be innovative in a social sense, both promoting and embodying genuine transformation? 


Exploring alternative dimensions and challenging dominant patterns


Against the backdrop of the three sub-themes of Identity, Inclusion and Innovation, OM7 will seek to articulate dimensions of alternative communication that privilege diversity and equity, while challenging and critiquing dominant communication patterns based on hegemonies and hierarchies.   Below are some dimensions of alternative communication and dominant patterns of communication.  Of particular interest to OM7 are the relationships – or more precisely, the imbalances in the relationships – between them.  OM7 also recognizes that the seeds of one are often in the other.  For example, communication may be alternative in form but hegemonic in content.  On the other hand, apparently oppressive systems of communication may be subverted by creative interventions.        


Dimensions of

alternative communication

^  oral, aural, pictorial, visual and other symbolic communication (e.g. the language of symbols) – traditional and contemporary

^  diversity of languages and other forms of expression

^  experience-based knowledge-generation and technologies

^  marginalized voices, people-centred discourse and social relationships in negotiation

^  communal values, resources, systems and media of communication and interaction

^  ascendance of civil society and social networks and movements of communication and engagement

Current dominant

patterns of communication

Þ  primacy accorded to the written word and a few languages

Þ  corporate systems of production and transmission 

Þ  technology bias in development and application of new information and communication technologies

Þ  media-centric conventions, representation and ethics

Þ  commodification, appropriation and corporate ownership of communication and other key resources

Þ  dominant policy discourses and institutions that embed hierarchical communication



6 Emerging Focal Areas

Based on the sub-themes, OM7 proposes to develop six focal areas:

^    oral and symbolic communication

^    diversity of expression

^    knowledge-generation-and-transmission

^    marginalized voices, groups and cultures

^    communal systems of communication

^    social communication networks.


Globally critical challenges   


Given the urgency, pervasiveness and persistence of the challenges they pose, it is expected that OM7 will offer new perspectives and highlight effective experiences with respect to Communication in relation to Development, Education, Human Rights, and Peace-building and Conflict-resolution.  Many of these perspectives and experiences are expected to be in the Focal Areas.



Continuing the OURMedia thread


Through its sub-themes, by exploring the relationship between the dimensions of alternative communication and dominant patterns of communication, and by sharpening its focal areas, OM7 will build on the wealth of experience shared and knowledge generated in previous OURMedia conferences.  In particular, the Call for Proposals wishes to recall the topics addressed in OM6 under the following headings:    Community Media Research; Participation and Social Change,
Community Media and Policy; Media Activism, Civil Society and Social Movements;
Local Culture and Media Diversity; New Technologies and Media Convergence;
Community and Public Access Broadcasting; Indigenous Media; and Young People and Grass-Roots Communication.  [For a full list of the topics, see the OURMedia website.]


The design of OURMedia 7


OM7 will have three main parts:  the "Conference proper", a Community Radio Symposium, and a Festival.


The Conference will include plenary sessions featuring a keynote speaker and a keynote performance on each of the sub-themes - Identity, Inclusion, Innovation - followed by thematic panels and parallel sessions across various media and issues.


Coinciding with the 10th year on-air of Radio Ada, a pioneer Community Radio station in Ghana, OM7 will integrate a Community Radio Symposium that will reflect on, critique and celebrate the role of Community Radio worldwide in relation to identity, inclusion and innovation. 


The Festival will feature exhibitions that express the OURMedia 7 themes through various media and experiences.  Open to the public, the Festival will be a means of connecting OURMedia 7 with the outside world and ensuring that it re-invigorates the theme and leaves an imprint among people outside of and beyond the Conference. 


The organizing committee


The event in Ghana is being organized by the Ghana Coordinating Committee (GCC), a group that has gathered around OURMedia 7 and that brings together community radio practitioners, academicians, artists and civil society and media advocates.  These include, among others, the Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the School of Communication Studies and the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, and Participatory Development Associates.  This core group is being expanded with other partners from the African region and elsewhere and works with the OURMedia 7 International Working Group. 

The GCC see themselves as facilitators and are desirous that the very process of organizing OURMedia 7 should, in keeping with the theme, be as inclusive as possible.




Invitation to submit proposals


OM7 invites proposals that develop the exposition of its sub-themes and emerging focal areas.


As the proposal form below shows, presentations may take different forms.


Proposals from groups combining different disciplines, experiences and creative expressions are encouraged. 


The richness and diversity of the proposals will give final shape to the OM7 programme.


Language of submission


It is regretted that proposals will need to be submitted in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish.  Only translation between these four languages can be guaranteed at this stage.    (English and Spanish are the initial working languages of OURMedia.  French and Portuguese are, in addition to English, the two main working languages in sub-Saharan Africa.)


However, the proposal form allows for the possibility that a presentation may be made in a language other than the four named.  Presentations in indigenous languages are also encouraged, but proponents are kindly asked to prepare to provide their own translations.


Deadline for submission


The deadline for submission is 29 February 2008.


How to submit your proposal


Proposals may be submitted in one of two ways:


·      Online, or


·      By post to: The Secretariat, OURMedia7, P O Box KA9492, Accra, Ghana.


In either case, the proposal should have been received by the deadline.


11-15 August 2008, Accra, Ghana,

Theme: Identity, Inclusion, Innovation –

Alternative Communication in a Globalized World


Name of individual/group/organization making proposal:




What is the working title of your proposal?



Which sub-theme/s will your presentation focus on?  Please tick as appropriate.

/____/             Identity     /____/  Inclusion     /____/ Innovation


What is the nature of your presentation?  Please tick as appropriate.

/____/             Creative writing            /____/  Performance

/____/  Research paper          /____/   Theoretical paper

/____/  Symbolic media (e.g., indigenous symbols)

/____/ Visual or other media presentation (video, film, cartoons, street art, electronic art, etc)


Where do you see your proposal featuring at OM7?

/____/             Conference

/____/  Community Radio Symposium

/____/  Festival


What format would you prefer to use for your presentation?

/____/  Individual paper or performance

/____/  Panel or cohort

/____/  Workshop


In which spoken language do you propose to make or explain your presentation?

/____/  English     /____/  French     /____/  Portuguese     /____/  Spanish

/____/  Other.  Please name:  _________________________________________

If Other, how will you provide for translation?




OURMedia 7, 11-15 Aug 2007, Accra, Ghana,  – Call for Proposals, p.2

Summary of proposal


Please summarize your proposal in no more than 250 words.  Some of the questions that you may wish to explore are offered below.


With reference to the sub-themes, relationships, emerging focal areas, globally critical challenges and issues that are of particular interest to OM7:

·     what issues have you been grappling with?

·     what is the context  (including, as may be relevant, social, political and economic) in which you have been carrying out your work?

·     what alternative communication responses have you been developing or proposing?

·     what new questions have arisen in the course of your work which you would wish to be part of the ongoing dialogue around building an alternative world?


Name of individual, group or organization making proposal


If proposal is being made by a group, name of contact person


Street address (physical location)


Post office mailing address










Nationality of person/s proposed to make presentation at OM7

[important for visa purposes]



Please tell us something about yourself/group/organization (maximum 100 words):



Date of submission:



IMPORTANT: Please complete the Note on Funding below.





OURMedia will secure some funding to help defray the expenses of participants who could not otherwise attend OM7.  We encourage all participants to try to raise at least part of the funds, but if you will definitely not be able to attend OM7 unless OURMedia provides funding, please let us know.


Apart from travel expenses, which will of course differ according to the point of origin, we estimate that participation at OM7 will cost:

·  A minimum of USD 300 for registration (including lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments)

·  Lodging, breakfast and dinner at an average of USD 150 per day.


I can raise my own funding to cover my entire participation in OM7.

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

If you ticked "No", please continue.

I can raise my:

Registration cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

Airfare or other transportation cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No

Lodging, breakfast and dinner cost

/____/             Yes            /____/  No


No comments: